Both of the poems use a semantic field relating to sports or games for contrasting effects. In ‘Who’s for the Game’, Pope uses it to downplay the severity of the war in order to make people think that it will be fun to join and not consider the consequences. This can be seen in the introductory line, ‘Who’s for the game the biggest that’s played’ making the war seem light-hearted and jovial whilst also normalising the idea to prospective soldiers as most of them will already be used to playing lots of sports and games. Alternatively, ‘Disabled’ uses the reference to sports to emphasise the soldiers loss in the war in both the loss of his legs so he can no longer play sport and the resulting change in his quality of life. It also relates to the fact that he joined up after a football match likely influenced by propaganda poems such as who’s for the game. Owen writes ‘After the matches After football’, this repetition might be to emphasise how regretful the soldier is of this decision, it also illustrates the kind of youthful naivety that was taken advantage of by people such as Pope. This would make the soldier feel sympathy for the soldier but also anger that he never knew exactly what he was signing his life away for.
In ‘Who’s for the Game’, the rhyme scheme is written with every first and third line and second and fourth line rhyming. Pope uses the nature of rhyme to contrast the ‘courageous’ options and the ‘cowardly’ options, as can be seen in lines 2 and 4,’the red crashing game of a fight ‘and ‘who thinks he’d rather sit tight’. After reading these lines, it is clear to the reader that Pope has represented war as a game noble and glorious and at the time would have convinced them of this idea. On the other hand, in Disabled the rhyming scheme is inconstant and unreliable, this could be to show how having to rely on others limits him as he is never has any certainty of what’s going to happen. This is also emphasised by the fact that he spends the entire poem waiting for someone who doesn’t show up. Furthermore, ‘how warm their subtle hands’ is the only word that has no rhyme for it; this absence of repetition in the rest of the poem could be to highlight the point that he would never feel their hands again for the rest of his life. This would make the reader pity the soldier as he is in a very vulnerable situation.
Both of the poems represent the consequences of war very differently. On line 11, ‘Who would much rather come back with a crutch’, Pope suggests that the worst thing that could happen to a soldier is to return home on crutches – not death. Continuing on this theme on lines seven and eight Pope asks every young man if they want to take part in the “show” of war or if they want to just sit in the “stands”. In saying that the worst thing that could possibly happen to a soldier is coming home on crutches, Pope has represented war as not only noble and glorious but harmless. The reader at the time would have then ignored the realities and consequences of war. Oppositely, Owen displays throughout the entire poem exactly how much the soldier has loss in terms of his legs, his friends and ultimately any aspects of his previous life that he enjoyed. This can be seen in Owen’s use of the present tense in, ‘He’s lost his colour’, is a reminder of how the actions of the past continue to have an impact in the present ; one moment of warfare has changed the man’s life forever. This would make the readers feel very sorry for his loss.
In both ‘Disabled’ and ‘Who’s for the Game’, there is a common theme of spectatorship verses participation. In ‘Who’s for the Game’, Pope urges people to participate in the war and mocks them if they don’t for being cowards. This is especially apparent in her use of rhetorical questions for example, “Who wants a turn to himself in the show?” And “Who wants a seat in the stand?” This influences the reader to enlist otherwise they feel weak and cowardly for not participating and preys on their want to feel brave and important. Pope also alluded to the idea that if they didn’t enlist for war they would be missing out on all the ‘fun.’ Comparatively, ‘Disabled’ is focused around a soldier who did partake in the war and is now left as a spectator because of it. This is shown as the man never actually takes any action throughout the poem and just looks back on his past with regret for signing up. This makes the reader feel sympathetic towards him as he is unable to do anything.
Both poem have uniquely distict structures to achieve certain effects on the reader. Writing largely in pentameter, in lines 10 and 40 Owen introduces an extra foot,this serves to disrupt the narrative flow and halt the forward progress of the reader, just as it has halted the progress of the young soldier. Owen also highlights the halting search of the man’s memory for the reasons he went to war by employing frequent caesurae when the soldier is talking about signing up. This helps to show the reader how pointless the war was as there were so few reasons for him joining it. ‘Who’s for the Game’ is comprised of four stanzas,each being four lines long,